How Belgium’s Eden Proved to be a Real Hazard This World Cup

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How Belgium’s Eden Proved to be a Real Hazard This World Cup

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander

M

y eyes dilated over the Kazan Arena pitch. The brief was to follow Neymar, to race the pupils at the rectangular field as he trotted past defenders. But it was proving difficult. For Eden Hazard distracted them to the other end. The Belgian would not let it rest; he was obsessed with making headway and fast. The neck vibrated sideways, trying to keep up. Every sinew agile, the mind not as sharp.

But it did not hurt. Even as Neymar slashed like a cornered knight, Hazard was twisting the knife with dexterity. Enchanting the crowd with a balletic swish of his hips to leave defenders wrong-footed; not to mention, a drop of the shoulder which had them wallowing in cross-eyed confusion. Hazard moved past bodies like he was moving through them. If there were questions over his big-game temperament, Hazard tore the doubts apart much like he ravaged Brazil.

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